The battle wages on for Prineville residents Grover and Edith Palin, and in their view, the only end to their Measure 37 property rights claim is development.
>Prineville couple refiles claim, wants to build diner, motel atop Rimrock
Despite the fact that the City of Prineville ruled against allowing the Palins to develop their acreage - located on the undeveloped Rimrock overlooking the city- under M37, Grover Palin entered the council chambers Tuesday night and delivered a statement.
"You seven people did a lot of things wrong," Palin said, citing the council members' acceptance of an appraisal made by city-appointed appraiser Steve Bucknum, who admitted he was likely on the wrong piece of property when he made his evaluation.
Palin then presented a letter of demand, as well as a letter of withdrawal of their original M37 claim to Mayor Mike Wendel, City Manager Robb Corbett, and City Attorney Carl Dutli.
"I'm not going to build a retirement home," Palin, 80, continued, referring to his original claim to build a single family home on the property. "I'm not going to retire."
He then briefly outlined his plan to build with a partner a "first class" diner and 12-unit motel atop the Rimrock, or eight condominiums, with luxury homes below.
The Palins made history as the first property owners in the state to garner a M37 judgment to pay the value of the land instead of being granted a waiver when the Prineville City Council decided last month to pay them $47,750 for loss of value to their parcel. The payout was contingent upon the Palins filing their claim with State of Oregon.
The Palins did not file the original claim with the state, but have filed their new claim with the city, county and state this week.
Grover and Edith Palin purchased the more than 15 acres of land in 1963. The couple began their M37 process with the county, later transferring it to the city after the property was annexed.
The Crook County Assessor's Office has valued the land at $77,000, though Palin said he has had it valued at $1.5 million. When fully developed, with a restaurant and homes, Palin estimates the value at $5 million.
He said he and a partner would like to build a first-class dining house and motel similar to the lodge at Black Butte Ranch or condominiums in that space. Either way, the remaining acreage would host luxury homes in a gated community. Palin is seeking additional partners for the projects.
The property owner has easements leading to the location he plans to gravel in the near future.
However, Palin said he will not spend any more money until a decision is made regarding his claim.
"My initial reaction is once a decision has been made I don't think you can withdraw," said Carl Dutli, Prineville city attorney.
Dutli said he is unsure if a claimant may refile a M37 claim to use a specific piece of property for a different purpose than the one for which the claim was originally filed.
"That is something we will need to review," he said. The city staff has conducted one meeting on the matter and will have more before a decision in any direction is made, he added.
As a first step, city staff will compare the claim to its existing M37 ordinance to make sure the claim is complete, said Deborah McMahon, city of Prineville interim planning director.
Grover Palin said he worked with McMahon for a month on his M37 claim and was pleased with the outcome. However, the city council chose not to accept what Palin describes as an agreement that would meet both the Palins and the city's needs.
"I never did want their money," Palin said after the meeting. "I don't want the taxpayers' money. All I want to do is have my property my own."
"Edith and I would have been happy with a little house," he added.